Dmitry Litovkin, Alexei Ramm
Izvestia, September 07, 2016, p. 1
The plant of special automobiles (ZSA, it has formerly been a part of KAMAZ) is completing state tests of heavy-duty automobiles of Platforma-O family that will become the basic chassis for launchers of intercontinental ballistic missiles Yars and Rubezh.
PLATFORMA BECAME THE FIRST FULLY RUSSIAN FAMILY OF SUPER HEAVY PRIME MOVERS
The plant of special automobiles (ZSA, it has formerly been a part of KAMAZ) is completing state tests of heavy-duty automobiles of Platforma-O family that will become the basic chassis for launchers of intercontinental ballistic missiles Yars and Rubezh. General Designer of the automobiles Danis Valeev reported this.
– The automobiles are intended for accommodation of heavy missile systems, in the course of the tests all automobiles of the family have fully confirmed the characteristics embodied into them.
According to the specialist, the first two multi-axle prime movers – KamAZ-7850 with wheel arrangement of 16×16 and cargo capacity of 85 tons and KamAZ-78509 with wheel arrangement of 12×12 and cargo capacity of 50 tons will be adopted for service by the Defense Ministry this year. Prime mover KamAZ-78504 with wheel arrangement of 8×8 (working with a semi-trailer attached to the automobile by a special mechanism) that can transport cargo with weight of up to 16 tons should refill the automotive fleet of the Defense Ministry next year.
Interestingly, Platforma became the first fully Russian family of super heavy prime movers put into series production. At present, launchers of mobile strategic missiles Topol and Yars, tactical theater systems Iskander and coastal systems Bastion are mounted on the chassis made by the Minsk plant of wheeled prime movers (MZKT). Along with this, automotive trains with heavy combat vehicles in the Russian army are towed by four-axle MAZ-537 also made in Belarus.
The main peculiarity of Platforma is represented by unique diesel electric drivers with electric motors integrated into the wheel hubs of the prime movers.
Representative of the Defense Ministry familiar with design of the newest prime movers reported:
– Prime movers of this family do not have a cardan shaft. A small but powerful and compact electric motor is mounted on every wheel. The main diesel engine works for the electric generator that in turn supplies every electric motor with electricity. Due to such solution, not only cargo capacity and power are increased in comparison to prime movers of ordinary scheme but cross-country capacity is improved significantly. Even if two-thirds of wheels break down the vehicle will retain agility. Another advantage is absence of the cardan shaft on which agility of the vehicle depends very much.
All prime movers of Platforma family are equipped with fully domestic engines with power from 850 to 1,000 h.p. produced by KamAZ. The automobiles have electric transmission gearbox directly connected with the electric motors placed into each wheel of the automobile.
– We installed an electronic remote control system. This means that there is a steering wheel as such in the cabin but force from it is transmitted not to the shaft that controls rotation of the wheels but to a special electronic sensor. From the sensor the signal goes to a computer that distributes commands to all wheels of the automobile for performance of a maneuver. This allows creation of special algorithms of controlling of the automobile.
Unique capabilities of the running gear and controls of automobiles of Platforma-O family are manifested by the fact that 16-axle KamAZ-7850 can turn just on 20 meters of space.
The General Designer of the automobiles explained:
– For increasing of maneuverability all wheels of the prime movers can turn. Platforma may move in a “crab step,” that is practically sideways when an automobile performs a maneuver without changing of positions of the wheels. The hydro-pneumatic suspension of Platforma may be considered unique too. It allows automatic changing of clearance of the automobile depending on the terrain on which it moves: cross country or highway.
In summer of this year, Russian mass media reported about serious problems that accompanied development and testing of prime movers of Platforma-O family. For example, short circuit appeared in electric motors in case of a strong burden on the wheels. The time of completion of work on Platforma-O family was postponed from 2020 until 2022 and the Defense Ministry initiated beginning of a new experimental and deigning program for creation of super heavy prime movers of traditional configuration.
The Defense Ministry does not comment on the course of tests and possible adoption of the newest prime movers for service. Along with this, a source in the ministry explains that Platforma-O is a very serious technical projects that is disputable in many aspects and most likely retrofitting of the new family of prime movers will be continued even after completion of tests.